My calendar shows a race planned every weekend from about September to December, lots of short sharp cross country races. With racing each weekend it can be hard to get some decent training in, so this week’s plan was a “training week” with the Lasswade cross country race less of a focus than a good bit of fun at the end.
I had a couple of days off work, leading to a decent few runs on Monday and Tuesday mornings, a good amount of rest, and the temptation to something silly for the 2nd time - running from home to a Saughton track session, for a total evening’s running of 27k (including 10k on the track - some tempo running and 5*1k).
Wednesday is almost a litmus test of how solid my training is. When it’s on the up the Tuesday/Thursday sessions bookend a decent semilong Wednesday night, as it was this week. Enjoying running off road with head torch, Corstorphine hill and river of Almond walkway, it turns out that a surprising amount of trail can be chained together http://www.strava.com/activities/213239929.
Thursday, hill session at the meadows, struggling running hard downhills more than up but seemed to loosen up in the end.
Friday, well the best way to recover in the morning was surely a run around Arthur’s seat… Actually highly pleasurable, it’s a route I don’t take too often so always enjoy.
Saturday - quick parkrun
So for Saturday I was considering heading over Stirling way for the Dumyat dash hill race. The requirement to spend half the day getting there and back and more to the point to get out of bed at least an hour earlier made the decision. It didn’t hurt to think that my old 20k parkrun sandwich (7-8k from the house to and from parkrun) was more like the training I needed.
So I resolved to run a good hard effort at parkrun, and it turns out that a few EAC clubmates were there too. Picking my way through the field as usual, I ended up running in a good group of 4, coming back into the wind the company kept us honest and resulted in a harder effort than I’ve made down the prom for a while, for a 17:10 “with wind”.
Sunday - Lasswade XC
After making the discovery that the Lasswade XC race was actually not in Lasswade, I made my way on the bus to Gorebridge. Daysaver ticket was cheap at the price that day.
The race was a 4-lap affair, 1 short lap around playing fields to spread the field out (very good idea), and then 3 longer laps that ventured into a rougher field to the side and back around the playing field. Quite a good mix of terrain, from hard grassy flat ground, to a single-path worn track, some sloping and hard-packed muddy bits, a little hill, a bit of everything - varied terrain without much in the way of nasty ankle-turning lumpy stuff.
As usual I got off slowly, and already had to drift through the field on the lap of the playing field. I must admit I felt this first small lap quite miserable, like the race would be painful, but as soon as we got out onto the rougher field and ‘single-track’, I was very much drawn in.
With 3 laps you pay attention to various bits of the course, try to take a better line next time around, make note of places to overtake or be cautious (who am I kidding? there are no places to be cautious). As I worked my way up through the field, taking a few places each lap, I would always try to make a move and overtake before the turn through a narrow path onto the 2nd field, so as not to get stuck behind someone on a narrow track, and to try to overtake on a decent open runnable downhill. The main ‘hill’ of the course always felt tough, but then when you see people coming back to you on the hill it doesn’t feel so bad. And of course it’s always good to overtake on the crest of a small hill, where people fail to run strongly over the top.
I was 10th, failing by the narrowest margin to take a place on the line. In case you couldn’t tell I loved the course and the race, definitely going back.
Also ran 11k post-race as a kind of long run substitute, which turns out to have been a bad idea, but more on that later.